I created this webpage at the beginning as a way to deal with everything we had to endure. I continue to try and spread the word about Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) with the hope that people will hear our story, and learn to never never shake a baby.
I work as an advocate for my son, and for the many victims of this crime. I have also worked with local families that find themself having to travel down this long difficult road.
This journey is not one I would wish on my worse enemy, but many of us find ourselves traveling it due to someone shaking our child. I hope to help other families that our on the journey, as they help me along the path as well.
The only person that truelly knows what we go thur, is someone on the same journey.
My son Kyle was shaken violently and almost killed on 12/1/99 at the age of 6 months old. A man that was suppose to love and protect this precious boy. A man that Kyle trusted with his life. Kyle was rushed to Mary Bridge Childrens Hospital in Tacoma Washington. Kyle had brain surgery that night to relieve the bleeding and pressure inside his skull.
If Kyle would not have had brain surgery that night, he would have died within two hours. Kyle was not only abused on 12/1/99, he was also abused on 11/24/99. Who knows how many times this little boy was attacked!!! In an admission statement, Kyle's abuser admitted to shaking Kyle, throwing him and then pushing down on his chest three times in a fit of frustration. This is what he admitted to doing on 11/24/99. We know that what he did on 12/1/99 was much more severe as Kyle was within two hours of dying. Although we will probably never know the torture Kyle felt at the hands of this man.
Kyle suffered the following:
* chronic subdural hematoma (intercranial hemorrhaging)
* acute subdural hematoma (intercranial hemorrhaging)
* a subarachnoid hemorage
* retinal hemoraging in his right eye (40-60 retinal vessels burst inside eye)
Over 1500 children yearly are rushed to the hospital because of Shaken Baby Syndome. 25% of those babies die. The babies that survive have long term difficulties with learning disabilites, developmental delays, loss of hearing, blindness, epilepsy, and speech problems to just name a few.
News story from Kyle's assault
Recording of my interview on KISS 106.1 to raise funds for SBS education in Washington State
Here is a copy of one of the speeches that I shared with those to share our story and raise awareness of this crime, and raise funds for the prevention of SBS in Washington State.
Our story begins not unlike most people... I was in my early 30's, had graduated college, had a good job, had been married for several years and we were finally having a baby. I planned the whole time I was expecting, to make everything perfect, be fully prepared to do everything right, decorated and fixed up the house, read all the books, and couldn't wait to bring my son home.
When my son was born, it was the happiest day of my life. He was so beautiful, a healthy 9 pounds 12 ounces, plump and beautiful boy with beautiful blue eyes and blond hair. I never fully understood the love of a parent until that moment, it was as if my heart was now living outside of me.
I returned to work full time when he was 3 months old. I hated going back to work, but my husband and I had made it work so that he would be with one of us at all times. He would always be safe, always be safe with one of his parents.
A short 3 months later... I got the call at my work that changed my life forever.
I rushed home to my son, to find him already in an ambulance and being rushed to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital.
They had to pull over on I-5 because he stopped breathing, and they had to resuscitate him and put a breathing tube down his throat.
It seemed like an eternity until I could even see him. That first night is a blur.
When I did finally get to see my son after authorizing emergency brain surgery to relieve the pressure inside of my son's skull from internal bleeding. All I saw of him was him in his diaper, multiple tubes coming out his mouth, his head, his arms, and machines all around him. His head was completely bandaged, and between all the tubing and gauze... all I could see was his closed eyes. I kept talking to him, kissing and rubbing his hand, and watching, and waiting for him to open his eyes.
I don't think I really heard much of what the doctors were telling me.... I was in such a state of shock. All I remember hearing was bleeding in the brain, and that he may not live thru the night. At that point, when I wasn't holding my son's hand, I was dry heaving over the garbage can.
Would I ever see my babies little blue eyes again?
At my son's bedside, which I WOULD NOT leave once I was able to see him after surgery.... the man I was married to was taken in for questioning. I was numb. I sat at my son's bedside, praying and hoping I could hold him and make everything alright. But I could not hold him. All of the tubes, and machines and his condition, I could not hold him.
Sometime late into that first night, or early morning I think it was, after multiple doctors had seen and treated my son, I was told for the first time, very forcefully and graphically, that someone had taken my son, shook him hard, and thru him into a hard surface. Severe shaking and blunt force trauma to the head. While saying this they demonstrated with a doll what exactly happen to me son.
I ran out of the room, threw up and then collapsed onto the floor in hysterics screaming, and then I couldn't breathe.
This is how I learned about Shaken Baby Syndrome (also known now as Abusive Head Trauma)
My son had become a victim of child abuse, of a horrible act... severe shaking and being thrown.. all at the hands a person that should have loved and protected him with his life.
My son lived thru that first night... thanks to the fast medical attention he received, and the emergency surgery to relieve the bleeding in his brain. I was told by the neurosurgeon that my son was within 2 hours of dying..........all because he cried..........
I am one of the lucky ones... my son survived his assault, and he survived and is now considered a high functioning survivor, even though he still have developmental and behavioral challenges.
An estimated 1,500 children are injured or killed by shaking every year in the United States. We now that in the last few years, that number is actually higher. 55% increase in the Seattle area alone....Over 300 babies a year die from being shaken in the United States.... 1500 a year injured.... 300 a year die...... because they cry....
Approximately 25% of those shaken die as a result of their injuries. Of those that survive, 80% suffer permanent disability such as severe brain damage, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, behavioral disorders and impaired motor and cognitive skills.
Many survivors require constant medical or personal attention, which places tremendous emotional and financial strain on families. Medical costs associated with initial and long term care for these children can easily reach into the Millions.
I have meet many other children and families affected by SBS. Whether they are angles, or survivors, it has ruined any kind of what people call a "normal" life. But this is now our reality.....
But we fight... and we will continue to speak thru our pain and fight.. ...because WE HAVE TO STOP people from shaking babies. And the best way we can do that, is educate everyone on the dangers of frustration and shaking babies.
Parents and caregivers need to know the challenges of a crying baby. To understand that babies cry. It is what they do. The frustration over the crying of a baby is what generally leads to shaking, and that they need to know ITS OK to gently put the baby down, walk away, take a break, call for help.....
We will continue to tell people this, we are going to save lives!
Have a Plan...... Take a Break..... NEVER shake!!!